As Neymar celebrates his 25th birthday, it is interesting to compare his achievements with those of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the same age with the Brazilian winning out in terms of goals.
Neymar is currently in his finest form of the season so far and his display against Athletic Club on Saturday was a testament to the footballer he has turned into since arriving at the Camp Nou.
Providing an assist for Paco Alcacer’s opening goal, he co-led the team in an attacking sense alongside Lionel Messi.
Despite still being in its relative infancy, Neymar’s career is already wondrous with the forward having won a Champions League, two LaLiga titles, two Copa del Reys, a Copa Libertadores as well as an Olympic Gold Medal.
The only thing that Neymar lacks is a World Cup and a Ballon d’Or, and the former will see him shoot past Messi and Ronaldo in that regard.
Neymar is not the star of Luis Enrique’s Barcelona, Lionel Messi is and he has been for over a decade, this shows when you compare the individual awards won by the pair.
At 25 the Argentine had already won three Ballon d’Ors, three Champions Leagues and five LaLiga titles whereas at the same age Ronaldo had earned one Ballon d’Or and three Premier League titles.
On the pitch Neymar trumps both in terms of goals scored, however, although how much is down to the system he is playing in is difficult to judge.
The former Santos starlet has scored one more time than Messi had by age 25 and 118 more than Ronaldo although the Portugal captain had spent that time playing in the Premier League.
Neymar has managed 280 goals in 468 matches for all clubs in all competitions as well as his national team whereas Messi had 279 in 405 appearances.
What is clear however is that Neymar’s career will outlast both Ronaldo and Messi’s, or at least it should in theory, as he will have his opportunity to get his hand on the famed Ballon d’Or trophy.
This may even come sooner than anyone may think with the forward set to lead Brazil into the 2018 World Cup in Russia. If he was to secure that title, he would surely be at the forefront for the award.